Legislation that would end the federal government’s ban on sports betting and allow states the option of legalizing online gambling was introduced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, ESPN.com reported.
Fantasy sports would be treated as a form of sports betting under the potential new law.
The bill, titled the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act or GAME Act, would repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), the law under which sports betting is prohibited in all but four states. Online gambling is allowed in only three states – Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey), the ranking member of the committee, is leading the legislative effort. Pallone’s state has been fighting the federal ban on sports betting for years, and the Supreme Court is considering whether to hear the its case.
“Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” Pallone said in a statement. “It’s time to recognize that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernize them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”
Under the potential law, the Federal Trade Commission would oversee the sports betting industry, and states wanting to legalize it would be required to set up consumer protections, ESPN notes.
The legislation has support at the state level. In addition to New Jersey, several others states – Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia – have introduced pro-sports betting legislation this year.
Said American Gaming Association president and CEO Geoff Freeman, “President Trump will have sports betting legislation on his desk during his term.”